A sunrise like no other…

I’ve been up long before the sun rises on each day for weeks now. This odd occurrence began just after I wrote a post about never being able to catch the sunrise on each new day. Strangely enough I never miss a sunset, as the naps have not commenced for me as of yet. But, I’m certain they shall given the passing of time that falls on all of us at one point or another.

My pup is quite confused by each of my early morning adventures sitting on a bench just outside my patio door. She saunters, slowly down the deck stairs, taking one landing after the other ~ I have three…

The gentleman who built my deck worked very hard the first year I was in my home, making sure that I would be content with this deck as I aged. He knew that I had a joy for gardening and would be making compost bins in the yard and perhaps growing on the upper deck. So, each landing after a few stairs works beautifully for me, resting on each or setting pots on them.

I remembered we sat at the kitchen table as he asked a number of questions about the plans I had for the back yard, I was not sure as to why actually until I hit my fifties. Now I know the rest of the story…His reasons for so many questions. He was thinking ahead, way ahead.. by almost 20 years…Now, that’s a fine man and woodworker…

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September 12th 2016

This was the morning that I realized why this man put in so much effort when building my patio deck with extra wide stairs, in case I needed to pull my wheelbarrow up to the upper portion of the deck, which I have many times with ease as each step is doubled in size as well. Giving me firm and steady footing when doing this as I approach 60 years old ~ (Young)

He planned this deck for me and the years ahead when I’d no longer be working 12-14 hours days to provide for my two children. Even with my bad knees I can have a chair on those bad days just to sit on the lower levels, if I need it. I am so thankful to this wonderful woodworker who also became a good friend.  Friends do often come and go, but the memories will last a lifetime and for that I am truly grateful for friends such as yourself reading this post and another amazing SUNRISE…

And, my pup has been enjoying many naps during these past weeks, since I’ve been up so early so has she… My little pup is snoozing right now as I type this post.. Sweet dreams Lil pup….

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Until next time

~Laura~

Indoor Winter Gardening

For this gardener as Fall speeds toward me like a run-a-way freight train I tend to be a little  down having to give up a passion of mine. The snow is beautiful ~ Don’t get me wrong, but when we go into the deep freeze for months on end my body screams at me with pain in my joints.

You see one very cold winter we managed to get dumped with a ton of snow all at once a few years ago. So, what does a good neighbor do, you ask?…. She fires up her big red snowblower and after clearing her own driveway she heads to the neighbors driveways that she knows only have shovels.

I suppose I was out there for over an hour blowing 3 other driveways and wondered why I couldn’t feel any of my ten fingers any longer. About 30 minutes prior to this I was having a bit of stinging pains shooting up the hands, but I powered through it just the same.

Until, the pain returned just as I was putting away my snowblower into the garage, and I ran inside fast, pulling off my gloves. I can’t describe the type of pain it was, but I can say that giving birth to two children was a breeze compared to having frostbite on your hands.

All or most of the nerves in my hands are shot…I can’t handle things out of the freezer for very long or have any other type of cold on my fingers. The nerve pain I’m afraid will probably never go away. Damage is done….So, folks when winter arrives and you have minus 30 c temperatures like up here and below that too, keep those hands warm and when the first sign of pain happens ~ Get Your Bodies Inside!

(To cope with the cold ~ I use those little packets of gel that heat up and place those in my gloves…)

Indoor Gardening in the Wintertime

Has become a passion that I’ll always do during the long months of winter with the cold just outside of my windows. I’ve brought indoors cuttings off my cherry tomato plants, and begun a Pineapple Challenge over on YouTube ~ Started by Mick Watson. If you want to check it out just type in this.   #PineappleChallenge  and you should find all of the fine gardeners who are joining in with this challenge.

I started with just two pineapples two weeks ago, but now the pineapples in the stores are full of nice looking pineapples and they are marked down in price due to the shear volume of fruit on the shelves. So, what’s a gal to do who has plans for gardening in the wintertime? You might ask yourself…

Well, she goes and buys 3 more pineapples to add to the challenge, giving a grand total of 5 planted pineapples… This should keep me busy throughout the long winter if I can keep them alive.. It takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months to grow them so I’m what you call in my happy spot gardening this winter.

Please if you have time go on over and view my 38 second video on YouTube, and if you enjoyed what you see, please Like & Subscribe while you’re at it.. Thanking you all so very much ~ Your generous support for me and this blog has kept me smiling and happy. Hugs from me to you…

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Until next time

~Laura~

My neighbors Goldenrod…

I watched my neighbors yard a lot this past summer…They are selling their home and the lawn care was sadly mistreated, but wonders are lurking underneath an abandoned piece of land..

Springtime,

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Even though when these little snowballs burst scattering the seeds all over the neighborhood, it’s really a beautiful thing to witness a yard full of these dandelions. I watched the bees happily tending to these flowers this past spring…

Summertime,

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Even Thistle can be beautiful as long as it’s in the neighbors yard…..

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I think this is a giant goldenrod, and this pair looks as if they are dancing side by side in the wind.. I wish my picture turned out better so you could see the bright yellow flowers atop these two plants… It’s been fun watching the neighbors back yard all spring and into the summer.

Wintertime, last year…

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Brought three deer to the neighbors backyard… They would jump with ease over the fence and graze on the evergreen cedars…

Fall,

Is a just 5 days away, can you believe it? How fast time flies by ~ almost in a blink of an eye..

Stay tuned for Fall colors when they arrive, as they are very late this year.. usually by mid-August I see the trees beginning to change, as the nights would chill… But, not this year the average temps in the evenings have been mild..

But… yes Fall will arrive and the chill in the air will begin to hang around and you can smell the wood burning in the fireplaces with the smoke circling in the cold evening sky that appears so much brighter in the Fall and Winter..

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Until next time

~Laura~

 

Jillee’s Gluten-Free Bread That Doesn’t Suck !

I am so happy that I ran across this wonderful cooks web site. This is the first time I’ve been able to make the gluten free bread in my bread machine/oven and have it turn out, perfectly.

But, I must say that I made a royal pain in the you know where mistake with all of the other times trying to make gluten free bread. You see I’ve been making homemade white bread for decades, and this gluten free bread was kicking me up and down the street big time!

I was beginning to think there was an ingredient missing somehow from the recipes I was trying, so I went back over with a fine tooth comb searching for the reason this was so difficult for me. I kept thinking that this shouldn’t be so hard to accomplish ~ After all it’s just bread without the gluten…Woozers that gluten is an amazing thing when it comes to baking breads.

So, the journey into my own stupidity began… I call a spade a spade (taught to me by my grandfather) and I’m not afraid to admit my blunders and this is a huge one. When I found out what I’ve been doing wrong I had to sit down on a chair and look at the bag of Xanthan Gum, laughing my fool head off.

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That’s right I bet you can see my blunder straight away! My eyes (poor as they are) looked at the bold lettering for Xanthan Gum and thought woozers that’s a huge bag (I thought while standing in the baking isle in Wal-Mart) when I’ll only need a tablespoon or two in each recipe.

That thought should have alerted me to my mistake, but oh…. NO… this brand new newbie at baking gluten free products was not alerted in the least.. My first thought was they were making this process very expensive. Silly me…

What I missed all together was the All Purpose Flour blend at the top of the package…I’m still laughing at my mistake after researching many video’s where they are telling me the addition of the xanthan gum is a very important ingredient because it will allow your bread to be bendy like real bread, instead of bricks without it.

So, when attempting to put all of the ingredients together and let me tell you there’s a lot of ingredients…I’d take a tablespoon out of this bag above thinking this was just xanthan gum, thinking to myself, “How on earth can I use all of this up, before it expires?”

IT’S A BLOODY FLOUR BLEND YOU SILLY BIRD!

There, there now I’ve vented about my stupidity…Deep breath and move on with me….

I found this wonderful web site that offered a wonderful video for making the gluten free bread.

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http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/?s=gluten+free+cooking

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Here’s the recipe from this site above

Ingredients

4 cups Brown Rice Flour Blend

1 tablespoon xanthan gum

1 tablespoon gluten-free egg re placer

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup powdered milk

3 large eggs at room temperature

1/4 cup butter at room temperature

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1/3 cup honey

1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast (not instant dry yeast)

2 cups warm water

Instructions

1.  Spray cooking spray into two 8-inch bread pans.

2.  Add the yeast to the 2 cups of warm water and stir until mixed. Set this aside to activate while you mix the rest of the ingredients.

3.  Mix the flour blend, xanthan gum, gluten-free egg re-placer, salt, and powdered milk together in a medium-size bowl and set aside.

4.  Put eggs, butter, vinegar, and honey in a bowl of your mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix together for about 30 seconds. The butter will be chunky, that’s OK.

5. Add half the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in the mixer. Mix just until blended, and then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix for another 30 seconds, until blended.

6.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the warm water and yeast mixture, then turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 4 minutes.

7.  After the 4 minutes your bread dough should resemble thick cake batter.

8.  Spoon the dough into your greased bread pans. Dip your fingers in water to smooth the top of the dough, if desired. Set aside in a warm place to rise for approximately about 50 to 60 minutes. While dough rises, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

9.  When the dough has risen to about an inch above the top of the pans, place the pans in your preheated oven on the middle rack and bake for 45 t0 55 minutes or until the bread’s internal temperature reaches 200 degrees with an instant-read thermometer.

10.  Remove the bread from the oven and let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then remove loaves from pans and place on a rack to cool.

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So, after returning from the Bins & Bins store where I knew I could purchase the xanthan gum. The different flours have to be refrigerated after you bring them home. I wonder about this since the flour in the store are in those clear plastic bins ~ not in a refrigerated area…Hum…

Perhaps, they throw out the flour on a regular basis in the store? I must ask them about that…

So, before going to the store to buy the xanthan gum I took out of my fridge the flours and measured out what I needed, along with the eggs and butter too.. Before, making this gluten free bread all ingredients must be at room temperature!

I arrived home with a small tub of xanthan gum, ready to make some great bendy bread, instead of the bricks I’ve made in the past…

Insert Stupidity meter number TWO right here below…. 

My beautiful birthday gift ~ Red bread machine… bakes bread sizes, 500g & 750g loaves…

I thought making this bread in the bread machine would be easier than the normal way of baking. So, after adding in all of the liquids first, next came the flour. Upon, adding all of the ingredients to the bread machine pan ~ I noticed it quite full… at this point I should have aired on caution and removed everything and followed the above instructions….

I didn’t!   I set the bread machines setting 3 hours from start to finish…I checked the machine two hours in and all looked as if this was going to work in there. So, I began prepping for dinner during the last hour of the bread machine cooking cycle. Chopping vegetables to go along with the gluten free breaded chicken strips.

I pre-heated my oven for the chicken strips and added them to the hot oven, while steaming the vegetables feeling quite good about myself, until…….

I could smell something burning and thought it was just the oven because something beforehand must have fallen onto the foil liner at the bottom of the oven… I opened up the oven door expecting to see smoke from a few bits burning inside, but nothing….

Closed the oven door and continued with making dinner. The smell of smoke began to become stronger and I wondered if I was having a stroke smelling something burning. I checked the oven once again. nothing….closed the door for the second time…

Again, with the smell of burning I wondered why the smoke detectors were not going off, and really became worried about my own health… Then…..

I turned around to drain the vegetables and noticed big flumes of white smoke rising from the bread machine that was cooking behind me on the counter. Great Balls of Fire! I yelled out…

Running… (well walking briskly) to to patio door with my bread machine in tow I placed it on the deck with the lid open, while the rolling smoke escaped from inside. A few words I’ll not repeat here was heard just as I went back inside.

Quick thinking….I grabbed my oven mitt and went back outside after the smoke had finished laughing at my stupidity. I brought back inside the bread machine pan with the dough dripping along the floor. Alright, then I thought… I will not be made a laughing stock by this gluten free bread today!

I grabbed my bread pans from the cupboard and poured what was left of the bread dough into it and shoved it into the already hot oven and cooked it for 20 to 25 minutes. At which point I used the instant read thermometer and noticed the bread had reached 180 degrees, so back in it went. After 5 or so minutes I tested the temperature again and it was sitting at the prefect 200 degrees as called for in the recipe. Let is rest the ten minutes, and remembered in my rush I didn’t spray the pan before dumping the bread batter inside.

OH Well…. of course it stuck all around the 4 edges… No fault of its own, but rather mine was to blame. A metal spatula used for icing cakes will release the sides I thought.. working all around the edges I released the bread from the pan, now it’s time to see if the bottom stuck, of which it did.. Of course!

The long metal spatula slid underneath quite well, and out popped the amazing to say, “Perfect loaf of gluten free bread, as far as appearance goes. Now, it was time to let it cool completely, before even attempting to slice it…

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I’ll tell you if you ever need to make gluten free bread this ingredients list when followed correctly works wonders. Even with my mishap with the too small bread machine and forgetting to spray the bread pan before throwing it into the hot oven  with our cooking gluten free breaded chicken strips ~ Turned out perfectly… After cooling and cutting the loaf, the gluten free bread was indeed bendy, felt like gluten bread, and tasted just like gluten bread. No gritty feel or crumbling… So, check out One Good Thing by Jillee

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Until next time

~Laura~

 

Mixed Zinnia ~ Dreaming of Peppermint

I can’t say it enough about how much I’ve loved growing these mixed zinnia’s from the seed package my daughter gave to me. This one looks like a peppermint candy that you see all the time and always at Christmas time. I know my candy bowl is full of these delights around the holiday, just love mint in any shape or form.

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Until next time

~Laura~

It’s Still Alive ~ I haven’t killed it yet !

I am shocked and amazed as the temperatures begin to drop here. This first week trying to grow a pineapple indoors has been a success. I’ve read that the leaves will look poorly in the first two weeks, but I am going to try to succeed with this little project of mine.

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It appears that the center of the pineapple tops was still intact when I purchased these two pineapples at the grocery store. It sounds like from what I’ve watched on YouTube by the other wonderful gardening folks who are doing this #PineappleChallenge that we need the center to be there and not plucked out by the produce manager.

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Last year I grew dill indoors, along with parsley and basil. All three thrived over the long cold winter indoors. I also began a Jalapeno pepper plant from seed last Fall that is still growing with a nice thick stalk. It gave me enough peppers to make jelly and this summer enough peppers for cooking anything spicy. I cut back the pepper plant to give it a little rest and I’m sure it will thrive yet again over this coming winter.

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So, since indoor gardening on a very small scale helped me get through the very long winter last year I’ve decided to step it up a notch..

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I ordered this amazing grow light kit from Veseys Seeds in Prince Edward Island. It arrived in a very sturdy outer box with another box inside containing this grow light kit. This bulb is massive in size and gives off such great light for my plants. I think my two pineapples, Oahu & Maui will just love being underneath this light. Let’s not tell them they are not in Hawaii, but rather heading into 6 months of Canadian Winter soon.

I made a short little video for YouTube ~ Less than one minute…I tried for the first time using my I-Pad to make the video, so take a look and tell me what you think…

Thanking you all kindly for your support with my Pineapple growing challenge…

Hint…

There may be toques

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In the future for Oahu & Maui

Question

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Until next time

~Laura~

Statement heard ~ The life of these Trees…

The other day when driving by the lake I passed by a couple of old trees that have been around for many decades. Notice the bend in the trunk ~ Leaning toward the lake. You’d think the north-east winds that blow off the lake would bend the trunk in the opposite direction ~ (well my brain thinks that way…) Perhaps, there’s a reasonable explanation for this tree growing in this fashion.

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But,

I’d like to let go of reasonable explanations for a moment and just let my mind wander a bit.

Facts : as I know them…

There are a few of these trees that are bending in this way. They are ear-marked for cutting down in the near distant future, because they are becoming a hazard to people walking around by the lake. I’m sure they have inspected these bending trees for years, making certain they are not ready to crack and land on someones head one day.

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My own pondering:

I’ve live up here in northern Canada for over thirty years, although 4 years of that was spent in Nova Scotia, Canada. My late husband served proudly in the Canadian Air Force, so we traveled.

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On our return to northern Ontario, I felt as if I’d returned home…even though my birthplace is in California.

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I lived in Carrabelle, Florida in a little village called Lanark.

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Move ten years later to Panama City, Florida.

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I remember that theater very well and all of the wonderful Walt Disney films from long ago. Back then folks smoked in the theaters and most of us children choked all the way through the movies.

A few years later we moved to Raceland, Louisiana.

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The next couple of years later, we moved to Biloxi, Mississippi

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I move to New Orleans, Louisiana a few years later..

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And that is just to name a few, before I found a home here in Northern Ontario, Canada…

Each new place where I’ve set up my hat, (lived) I’ve always looked up to the trees, no pun intended. When I was around 4 or 5 I can remember sitting on the sofa in front of a big picture window at the falling rain in Lanark Village, Florida. The thunder at that time amazed me (not like today as it frightens the life right out of me.)

This day during the storm a lightening bolt came rushing down from the sky and split a decades old pine tree right smack dab down the middle, with such a loud crackling sound ~ followed by the loudest sound of the tree falling to the ground in two pieces. I felt the rumble it made when hitting the ground so hard. I suppose I went running to my grandmothers apron ruffles for protection…

From that day on I knew what the meaning of fear was. As I grew older I looked up to the trees with amazement at how they can sway so effortlessly in the strongest of hurricane winds, and not give up their life to the storm. They bend…..they continue to live another day, instead of becoming fire wood or a pine board for which to build a table or chair. When I see pine boards my thoughts always drift back to that day when the lightening showed me the meaning of fear.

I’m not sure when my young thought processes began to change from being afraid of lightening storms, which I still don’t like. I allowed myself to have this ONE fear in life. Thunder and lightening. But, nothing else was going to stand in my path due to being afraid.

Acceptance & Perseverance

Perseverance synonyms: persistence, tenacity, determination, staying power.

Acceptance synonyms: welcome, adoption, toleration, endurance, forbearance, sufferance. ~ noun belief in goodness of something.

The bending tree in this post speaks to me every time I see it. Not by sound but by appearance, of course ~ I’m not barking mad …

The tree grew this way because nature dictated it. The winds blow toward the tree bending it back when it was small. So, it leaned into the winds fighting back against a fate of breaking. I love this thought about these bending trees, because many times I’ve had to lean into something so as not to break in two. Life can be full of small details most let disappear in the moment, without even noticing.

I see that the city has put in place replacement trees in front of the bending tree and I just had to stop on my way home and take a picture, because one day soon all I’ll have are the memories of this strong determined tree. I hope this little, although long winded post causes you to slow down just a tad and look around you.. You’ll see things you never even knew were there..

Perhaps, you’ll even see the Perseverance and Acceptance that was always there…

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Until next time

~Laura~

Mid-Afternoon at the Lake…

Yesterday, was yet again cloudy and raining off and on all day. I had to head to the lake in between rain drops just to sit on a bench near the empty baseball diamond. The cool breeze coming off the lake was a gift after having such humid weather all last week. Partly the remains from the hurricane that hit down South and worked its way up the Atlantic ocean.

I remembered this time to bring along my digital camera and thought about trying to make a short video, if anything of interest should happen….Well, I’d say it sure DID !

So, sit back for less than 3 minutes for a short video of my afternoon delight by the lake…

Thanking you all  so much for your support, while I try and learn how to use the video portion of my camera, and try to bring smiles to the faces of as many as I can… This is a goal of mine, and has been for many decades. So, if you’re having a not so good day out there today, give this little video a try ~ You’ll be glad (I hope) you did….. 🙂

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Until next time

~Laura~

When you have too much time on your hands…..

I find that if I get involved into a new project I tend to put a lot of effort into making it lighthearted and fun. This Pineapple Challenge is just that for me. I have big plans on this challenge and will be kicking it up a level or two ~ Into the Twilight Zone, so to speak.

With the temperatures beginning to drop at night and watching the black birds hurrying around in the trees, while the little chickadees flutter around hiding from these big old black birds. Even the squirrels are not bothered by the flock of black birds as of late. They are more interested in finding the supplies needed for our long winters.

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I found out from my daughter this morning just why the power outage happened last evening.

Squirrel !

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Needless to say a power outage caused by a squirrel is far worse for some reason?

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Until next time

~Laura~